in American Senator

Chapter 14 – The Dillsborough Feud

I hate the very name of gentleman

Mrs. Masters consistently denigrates the power and authority which is accorded to social standing.  Her exclamation recalls expressions of the Romans’ dislike of monarchy.  In Cicero’s De Re Publica we read that “once Tarquin was expelled, the Roman populace had such great hatred for the name of king.”  Cicero’s formulation is famous, and Trollope’s adaptation of it is apt, since Mrs. Masters finds the privileges of the gentry as offensive as the Romans were said to have found monarchy.  [RR 2012]

Source:  Cicero, De Re Publica 2.52.